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Fema 28, Christie 23, Obama 13, Us 13, Sandy 11, China 9, U.s. 5, Chris Christie 5, Rana 5, Ezra 5, America 4, Andrea Mitchell 4, Chrysler 4, Florida 4, Ben 4, Minnesota 4, Geico 4, Eric 3, New Jersey 3, Pennsylvania 3,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    October 31, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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the october surprise, bipartisan. it is wednesday, october 31st, halloween. and this is "now." joke me today rolling stone executor eric baits, rana, buzz feed editor in chief, busy ben smith, and "new york times" magazine editor mr. sunday morning himself hugo lin gren. as the east coast struggles to get on its feet in the wake of hurricane sandy president obama will be in new jersey this hour to survey the wost of the damage alongside the state's governor chris christie. the deadly storm responsible for 59 deaths according to the app and 59 billion in damage, ripped up boardwalks and left 2 million without power. governor christie has take an prominent role in the disaster recovery but also been content to share the spotlight with the president. despite the fact that christie remains a surrogate for the romney campaign, his praise of
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the commander in chief storm response has been oversized and unsensored, downright christy-en. this display of bipartisan has created confusion on both sides of the aisle. in today's "new york times" maureen dowd writes that, quote -- white house officials seem a bit flummoxed by christie's bear hug. they speculate christie who always puts chris fi first has decided it's better for his presidential ambitions to be a maverick blue state governor with a democratic chief executive exiting in 2016 than to have president romney and tea party republicans in congress pulling him to the extreme right for the next eight years. christie for his part shrugged off the notion of political calculus in an interview last flight. >> the president does things that deserve praise, i will give him praise. and when the president does things that deserves scorn i'll give him scorn. when someone asks me an honest question i give an honest answer. how has the president been to deal with? he's been outstanding to deal
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with on this and i look forward to see him tomorrow. >> mitt romney is back on the trail in florida after turning a previously scheduled campaign event in ohio into a makeshift humanitarian relief event. >> we've got people right now that are having some hard times because of this terrible hurricane and the storm that followed it. and your generosity will make a difference. one of the things i've learned in life is you make the difference you can. >> buzz feed that lie plus rag reports the last minute switch away from romney's, quote, show leadership and get on the local news without looking craven or opportunistic came with its own share of problems. quote, the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end with an empty truck. so the night before the event campaign aides went to a local walmart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in. with only 6 days until the
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presidential election what's clear is that every granola and every bear hug counts. ben, your libelus -- >> did you call a digital publication a rag. >> we'll take it. >> talk about this story. there is -- there's some, look, to be honest political optics, stage managing is something everybody does on both sides of the aisle. this was an opportunity for romney to not look opportunistic and they focused heavily on the optics. your assessment of mitt romney's position these days. >> i mean i think his position is impossible. when you're running a political campaign there is nothing you can do that is not going to be interpreted by political life nor should there be. the guy is running for president. notice we also ask the super pac if they would be giving money to the rescue effort. this is a political campaign and what these guys are focused on. the question is do you do a stagey relief event. romney's picture has been all over tv handing out groceries
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and that was basically the goal of the thing. to that degree it worked. of course, everybody is going to point out it's political. >> you mentioned volunteers at one point say we may have dropped off our donations up front where there were not cameras. >> and they were handing people peanut butter to go to give to romney to make it look like this was the peanut butter -- >> staging the gifting of peanut butter. what it does -- >> so generous. >> underscores, as ben says, almost impossibility of romney's role right now. the president out there legitimately touring disaster sites and overseeing the federal response to the natural disaster and romney basically has to figure out a position, a role to play on the national stage. >> yeah. it's a time of free media for the president doing what the president wants most which is looking presidential. so that's very, very hard for romney. but i'm also reminded of the ryan soup kitchen fiasco a few weeks ago where again they were caught staging kind of fake giving where romney was supposed cleaning pots that had already
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been washed. i think there's sort of -- >> there was a lot of back and forth over precisely whether the dishes were clean or dirty which gives you a sense of how much they are micro managing. >> that's right. >> you get in this situation where you get the reverse effect where your attitude towards the pao are and those in need really starts to look artificial. and that's different than just campaigning. that's just a callousness. and also dovetails with romney's position on fema during the primaries where you're saying we don't need this, private companies can do it, states can do it. if you're out there saying -- giving the impression people handing out soup cans can solve a problem of this magnitude that's also a problem for you as well. >> i think that's right. underscores the point that a big storm actually requires some big government. you know, i think that's a very difficult position to be in for romney right now. >> and also the republican party, big government has been vilified in large part. talk about chris christie, first of all, christie has -- i don't think anybody here would want to
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shortchange the magnitude of the task at hand as far as new jersey and what they've seen in terms of damage and the victims in the state. but in terms of christie's almost zealous support for the the and his actions are you surprised by that? >> no. if you look at the poll numbers and see obama up 11 points in new jersey, it's math on christie's part. the government will be depended on for a lot of money in new jersey to rebuild and recover from this. it makes sense on a bunch of different fronts. there is something important that christie did that is like worth noting and talking about which is, it's an important role in crises like this disasters for politicians to register the sort of emotional seriousness of it, the gravity of it and he did that really well. i was -- i have never listened to chris christie intently as i did yesterday on the radio and you fogh in most circumstances i find him to be an obnoxious blowhard and i was hanging on to his every word and it felt important and meaningful.
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i think that's to his veds it and e -- credit and even maureen dowd taking shots at him this morning, acknowledged that too. he obviously cares about this area, about his state and about this area of the state hit hard and i think that's legitimate. >> emotional seriousness is what christie does. other times you find him a blowhard. christie, obama, intensely aware there's a presidential election six days from now. christie -- >> do they know that. >> christie knows barack obama will be president for the next three months when he's asking for billions of dollars from the federal government. >> do you think there is -- if there is political calculation here, if romney is elected president, does this hurt christie when there is a romney administration in january of next year? >> sure. yeah, i think it does. but i think -- >> if you're mitt romney you don't forget that six days -- >> christie's bigger quests will come from the lame duck congress from this president, enormous amounts of money from the federal government. >> looking at the long-term
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republican party prospects for christie to be out there in the key moment when the race is quite tight if we're paying attention to all the polls for him to be out there literally giving a bear hug to the president, we'll see a lot of -- >> actually hugged him yet. have we seen him yet? >> lift him off the ground. >> that is going to be impressive. christie. little obama. >> becoming a theme for the election. >> maureen dowd says christie puts christie first. that's true. but christie reminds me of a guy who puts his mom about a close second and gets weepy about his mom and that's how he feels about jersey. if you do his mom a favor, do jersey a favor, it's actually personal and it is very intense real way that when you hear that, you get it. it's kind of weird and overly sentimentalized and dramatic. >> i don't know can see -- i think look, maybe i'm a naive or too much of an emotional, you know, believer in the power of leadership, but, you know, being
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a jersey boy as he is and seeing the destruction of his hometown. >> absolutely. >> i'm saying that's genuine and not christie putting christie first. he feels that way about jersey. if obama is there for jersey that registers something real for christie. >> i think also, boy, does this tell us that states can't go it alone. think about what would happen under some of the oblique proposals romney has made to turn over fema and rescue efforts to the states and let them share resources. >> or private sector. >> what do you do when 12 states are grouped together having the same problem. it doesn't work. you need a federal government. >> it makes the romney argument if we're going to call it that of 2011 seem ham handed at best we have to take a break. we will discuss more about fema, the storm and the ramifications when we come back after the break. that's up next.
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you are looking at andrews air force base in maryland where president obama is scheduled to depart in a few minutes heading to new jersey to survey the damage from hurricane sandy, the storm that has frozen the election for several days. with voters going to the polls in just six days, the campaign thaw is beginning. mitt romney is in florida, for three events today and president obama will return to the trail in nevada tomorrow. and in the last hour, governor romney has this to say about the country coming together. >> we come together at times like this and we want to make sure that they have a speedy and quick recovery from their financial and in many cases personal loss. >> people coming together is what's also going to happen, i believe, on november 7th, and -- i know we have differing viewpoints with regards to the campaigns. up until that point but we get
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to vote on november 6th and on november 6th you'll see us describe our representative visions for the country. >> a tight race nationally but president obama maintaining a lead in swing states including florida, virginia and in ohio obama leads romney 50 to 45% among likely voters. he also has a huge advantage when it comes to early voters. among those who have already cast their ballots in the state, 60% of ohioans favor the president while only 34% voted for romney. meanwhile, team romney is pumping cash into states not expected to be competitive at this stage. the governor's campaign says it is seeing a resurgence in michigan, pennsylvania, and minnesota. the obama campaign is pouring cold water on that very theory saying it shows signs of a struggling romney campaign. quote, romney campaign desperate. putting up ads in pennsylvania and minnesota, prove he's struggling to find a new path to 270. that prompted the romney campaign to respond with a tweet of its own, spokesman ryan
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williams, quote, nervous. obama campaign says minnesota and pennsylvania aren't battlegrounds but running more than 1.1 million in ads there. the baaing and forth on twitter, ben. who to believe. i'll say this. minnesota is a blue state that bill clinton did visit not a few -- not but 72, 36, some ente ger of 12. >> this is one you should totally ignore what these guys are saying and look where they're putting their money. that's the key resource, the key decisions at this point. where does the candidate go, the money go. to this point they can lie all day, too late in the campaign to get caught on it and look where the resources go. >> you know, i think it was mark halperin who said this, eric, that, you know, romney could have done this earlier. he could have maybe forced obama and the campaign to redirect its funds to states where they didn't want to have to play. just on the -- just to sort of deplete resources, if not to actually win votes. >> that's right. the 50 state strategy. you could have rolled that out. you could have tried to get him
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to play everywhere, spread him thinner and they didn't do it. it's too late to be doing that in any significant way. they might hit a few key markets with ads like in toledo to try to swing a little chunk of the state that they actually think they have a shot in but beyond that the real question now, it's going to come down to the ground game and what everyone has been saying all along is that democrats have a far better ground game in place and have had far more offices in place for longer and going to be able to turn out their votes better than the republicans are and we're going to see if that's true. >> rana, how much do you think sandy and the response by the white house affects swing voters. different thing if you're in new york and the tristate area, when you're in ohio and look at this, i want to pull up stats about what likely voters think of the candidates. in terms of the economy, 52% of ohio likely voters say it's getting better, 17% say worse, 30% say staying the same. 52% is not a bad number for the president. >> it's not a bad number and ohio is key as we know.
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to go to your first question of what does sandy mean. it means a lot more in kind of a raw economic sense to the east coast than the rest of the country. it makes the president look presidential. and it underscores that point i mentioned previously about big government or bigger government or a government. >> some government. >> some nonprivate sector thing. >> and i really do think that that's been an underpinning of this campaign. do we want -- do we feel we need to pitch in together, want a government helping us or willing to go it alone. it underscores that point. >> i -- 52% of the state saying it's getting better this is the other thing. i don't understand this, maybe one of you do. when asked about who cares about people like you, 62% of ohioans say obama does care, 44% say romney cares. does not care obama gets 36, romney gets 52. here's what i don't understand. if you don't think mitt romney cares about people like you why would you vote for him? >> i guess there's some doubts
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as the polls also show about his leadership abilities and that's an area where romney is pulling a little stronger. these polls, they get these poor people on the phone, talking and answering a bunch of questions. i mean it really is -- it starts to get a little ridiculous when you have to parse all the categories. i think it is interesting that romney in the last cbs/times poll, polled better in terms of people who were more confident about handling the economy and the deficit which are the one and two areas of concern among likely voters. now, that's pretty interesting that the person who has the lead in those things is behind in the polls. and it shows i think the big problem for romney now is where will a new gust of momentum come from. he needs one. there's a jobs report on friday. that could conceivably be it. what if it's not. and now you have a kind of desperate lob grenade, try to find something that connects because the president -- >> peanut butter give. >> the president gets to engage on the campaign. he gets to be doing his job, to be a very serious person, going to see the damage in new jersey, seeing what he can do.
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it really is a big problem for romney right now. >> initially nothing for romney to do himself. i mean nobody cares what mitt romney thinks about the storm recovery in new jersey. it's very challenging position for him. >> what do we think of the new jeep ad up, which is airing in ohio and trying to undermine the president's credibility on the auto bailout. let's play that ad. i don't think we've played it yet. this is a new romney -- i believe it's a super pac ad that is airing in ohio. >> obama took gm and chrysler into bankruptcy. and sold chrysler to italians who are going to build jeep in china. mitt romney will fight for every american job. >> i'm mitt romney and i approve this message. >> that is actually an official campaign ad. rana, does this argument hold water with the ohio voters, that the president was actually -- is outsourcing american jobs and didn't actually save the american auto industry? >> i'm going to guess no. in part because you know, making jeeps in china might be assembling them in china to sell
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to chinese middle-class consumers who are actually bringing money then back to the u.s. >> as every car company does. >> as every car company does. and that's actually an important point. and, you know, we often try to portray these countries as job stealers but they're products for u.s. markets. >> i don't think there's any doubt like the ad falls apart on the details, it does, but how big a scare word is china. it's a big scare word in places like ohio and not something that's happened in the last year, three years, five years, these are areas of the country seeing a lot of jobs, manufacturing jobs, go away and where do they think they've gone? they think they've gone to china. >> i used to work in toledo and been to that plant and that's very true, but i also think that despite the decline of unions one of the things you get in a town like toledo is a source of information that people trust and believe in through unions on political issue. at this point romney has been so
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characterized by the let detroit go bankrupt it's real late in the game for him to try to unwind or re-set the dial. >> however it is late in the game but what else is he going to do? this is where we are. >> this is what he's hit with. >> yeah. exactly. so why is it now? literally a week before the election, the fact that the chrysler ceo is out with a statement saying i feel obliged to unambiguously state our position. jeep production will not be moved from u.s. to china. >> you rarely see corporate leaders go at a candidate like that. i think romney is -- you see more and more dishonesty later in the race. it's a misleading ad. >> des ter p per rags. more blow back earlier but it's a news environment where they feel they can air whatever they want, people will be talk about sandy, ar by trait it after the election. >> this is the obama campaign's response to that ad. take a look at it. >> and now, after romney's false claim of jeep outsourcing to
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china, chrysler itself has refuted romney's lie. the truth, jeep is adding jobs in ohio. >> well, i mean, so do you have that response. you have -- i just think there are auto workers in ohio that know that their factory doors have remained open because of the choice the president made when he first took office. >> absolutely. i spent time recently in columbus which interestingly is a very bipartisan town, be democratic mayor, a bunch of republican city fathers spent money on infrastructure, supported the auto industry, they have a delegation to china to do deals like this one, to look for ways factory workers in columbus can sell to chinese. i think american workers are savvier about globalization and the opportunity it presents. >> that's not what the obama campaign thinks. they spent the entire summer blaming mitt romney for globalization. that was the campaign. >> i do think -- >> it's worked too. >> it does work. >> now the romney campaign is
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arguing against globalization. it's like it's come full circle? >> in ohio everybody is against globalization and everybody is for coal. >> but i mean, let's not think -- i remember seeing on this show why can't romney come out and say sometimes we have to close factories. sometimes -- >> the interesting issue this is seriously late in the game for it, but romney as the resident business expert had an opportunity to create a sort of intellectual idea about jobs and it could have been something along the lines of the difference of creating jobs and protecting jobs. and i think that's an area where as a republican, he could have made an interesting argument against the democrats and really had interesting things to say about it. he stayed at this trust me i know how to do it, i'm better, i got this plan and a lot of vague -- >> and also china. nobody is saying some of these jobs aren't coming back. >> that's right. i think that's a great point. he would have had to get these complicated nuances and talk
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about investment in the u.s. in order to create the kind of jobs that will stay here. >> but ultimately this is an area where he does have expertise. it's baffling he just -- >> called the paradox of the mittens. unsolved mystery. perhaps by november 6th we'll have an answer to it. we have to leave it there. >> president obama is getting set to leave andrews air force base for new jersey where he will tour storm damage with governor christie. romney's emergency management emergency management. while the rom-eny went on record saying he would like to hand disaster relief to the states but who is counting. that's up next. hahahaha! hooohooo, hahaha! this is awesome! folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico sure are happy. i'd say happier than a slinky on an escalator.
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to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day. today, jason chose aleve. just two pills for all day pain relief. try aleve d for strong, all day long sinus and headache relief. president obama has warned federal aid workers, quote,
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there is no excuse for inaction when it comes to relief effort. >> so my instructions to the federal agency has been, do not figure out why we can't do something. i want you to figure out how we do something. i want you to cut through red tape, cut through bureaucracy. there's no excuse for inaction at this point. government red tape is the subject of gop criticism on sunny days, but what about stormy ones. we will talk fema funding and budget busters when ezra klein joins us next on "now". president obama: there's just no quit in america... and you're seeing that right now. over five million new jobs. exports up forty one percent. home values... rising. our auto industry... back. and our heroes are coming home. we're not there yet, but we've made real progress and the... last thing we should do is turn back now. here's my plan for the next four years:
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making education and training a national priority; building on our manufacturing boom; boosting american-made energy; reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where... we can, and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan, so we can... do some nation-building here at home. that's the right path. so read my plan, compare it to governor romney's... and decide which is better for you. it's an honor to be your president... and i'm asking for your vote... so together, we can keep moving america forward. i'm barack obama and i approve this message.
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should take on more of this. how do you deal with something like that? >> absolutely. every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states that's the
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right direction. go even further and send it back to the private sector that's even better. we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. we cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. it is simply immoral in my view. to continue to rack up larger and larger debt and pass them on to our kids, knowing full we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off makes no sense at all. >> that was governor romney weighing in on the role fema should play, when given 13 opportunities yesterday to clarify his remarks he seemed preoccupied. >> governor, would you eliminate fema if you were president? >> good to see you. thank you. >> fema -- >> thanks for your help. >> what should fema's role be? governor would you eliminate fema if you were president?
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>> what do you think about fema? >> governor -- >> governor, are you going to eliminate fema? >> governor romney do you think -- >> so many questions and so few answers. joining us now is msnbc policy analyst, the man with all the solutions, "the washington post" ezra klein. ezra, ezra, ezra, i will say, before we get into this, our very own garret reports that it's been three weeks since mitt romney has taken a question from a reporter.
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we often talk as you and i want to do about policy and one of the things the republican party has preferred to do in the last two months is talk in an ideological bring all of this in an ideological -- frame all of it in ideology rather than practicality and here on fema, it seems like romney is -- was, we don't know what his current position is, trying to frame the argument based on an overall moral obligation we have to future generations to trim our spending. what do you make over this current discussion regarding romney's position on fema? >> i make of it what i feel like is the only thing we can make of all these discussions, i'm not even sure romney has any idea what he would do about fema. he got asked the question and the question went like this, governor romney, do you agree with republicans who want to vote for you in the primaries it would be a good idea to wrap everything the federal government does hand it over to the states and then give it to private companies and he said
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yes, of course, i do. the problem is, that in all of these instances and when you try to get into specific programs and how you would make them work or what kind of cuts they would face we have no idea. take a more specific promise romney has made, his budget promises, he cut the part of the budget that fema is in by 40%, by 2016. 40% to everything in that part of the budget. but every time you say to him, well, would fema receive a 40% cut or medicaid get it or whatever program you might want get it doesn't answer the question, says no education will get an increase. so in the end, not only does it not add up but my suspicion they have no idea how they would make any of this add up. these are things they said in the primary and they almost consider it a little bit unfair for people to not recognize or not admit everything said in the primary was a joke and they're not going to be held to that in the presidency. >> let's be clear, too, john king said even disaster relief and romney sort of mowed over that, i don't know whether --
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>> oh, yeah. >> that was an acknowledgement even in the case of disaster relief we would turn this over to the states or private sector. chris christie has given president obama a warm embrace and maybe in so doing has validated the notion that government has a role to play. we got word that jeb bush added his -- threw his hat in the ring as far as the role of federal government, he is no stranger to disaster in florida being the former governor there. my experience in all this emergency response business it is the local level and state level that really matters, that if they do their job right the federal government part works out pretty good. trying to shift the onus -- not the onus but the job on to the state and local level which, of course, is more in line with republican priorities as far as spending is it not? >> i think that's right. the broad vision of the romney budget if you take almost everything you can think of in the federal government, you give it this big cut and hand it to the states and say the states
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will figure something out. they'll do it more innovatively or efficiently, be some huge savings and point at welfare reform. a lot about the welfare reform that doesn't make sense in that context, only serves half as many people as it did in '96, less than that in a worse economy. not like we're getting more for the money. we're just not giving people welfare. like fema, we have state operations for disaster relief, local operations and the three do have to work in concert to this point, president obama does give fema 3% cut, not 40% one, but 3% cut in his budget, although at least he admits to that. so this is a general thing, the general problem of his campaign, that mitt romney is a very, very severe generic conservative but he's not at all specifically conservative on this programs or at least he won't admit to being it. when you say how is this program going to work, what cut will it receive, how will the states handle it, he basically as you've seen in that clip refuses to answer the question and at
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this moment i don't understand at all why answering questions on how you would operate fema should be considered off limits in the presidential campaign. >> rana, we know the ryan budget or romney budget calls for cutting spending to less than 20% of gdp by 2016 which means nondefense discretionary spending could be 40%. i e-mailed back and forth with the ryan camp spokesman for the nominee paul ryan and he said don't confuse the house budget and romney plan. we've made clear a romney/ryan administration will always ensure disaster funding is there for those in need. you know, we know that somehow -- i mean look, if we could get some specifics perhaps to be easier to unpack this but as ezra says, the plan is to make these massive cuts, but that they won't actually hurt. >> right. and you know, speak to local officials and state officials dealing with this stuff on the ground they'll say exactly what ezra said. we're not doing more with less, we're doing less with less.
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that's what's going to happen. we go over the fiscal cliff fema would lose about $1 billion worth of its 14 or $15 billion budget. that's money. in response to the jeb bush statements i would say things always have to be well coordinated at the local and state level but funding is different. state budgets and local budgets are really beleaguered and these governments are going to be asked to do, as i said before, less with more and to push even more of the funding burden on to them when you have a concentrated disaster like this. that is very interesting because romney has suggested that states could share resources when there is this kind of disaster but when you have a block of 12 states sitting beside each other having the same problems, that solution doesn't work. >> who really wants to fight chris christie on -- >> i think conservative republicans on capitol hill when the sort of sympathy diminishes a little in the fall, you're going to see conservative republicans resisting massive requests for the states for aid. there's starting to be rumble on the hill that they're going to
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want cuts to make up for the spending. that's going to be a fight for the fall. >> you also don't know have to know the specifics to see the scenarios that could play out if you cut fema. first you cut federal taxes to accommodate that cut. the states would then have to raise taxes in order to pay for the replacements for what fema used to do. taxation on the average homeowner or individual -- >> cut taxes so the localities have to raise taxes. >> that's right. >> any way the tax is going to go down. the other scenario, say the states try to replicate what fema does, that's extremely inefficient because what fema can do is keep a lot of resources in place to target wherever the disaster goes. if every state has to act like sandy is going to hit them every time. >> right. >> that's fantastically inefficient and someone like romney ought to know that of all people. >> a lot is give money to states. there's a level of the game here. >> that is what they do. the big obviously the cops and e
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ems and firefighters are out there, not federal employees for the most part. >> that's right. >> and those are local workers who like are out there, you know, doing the work first. >> ezra, we know if the sequesters go into place, fema loses $878 million, that's a lot of money although we don't know what's going to happen with the sequester. are you bullish or bearish? >> on the sequester i think we'll go over the cliff but not that long. one quick point on the ryan e-mail, ryan's budget would cut the category that fema is in by 22%, not 40%. when they say don't confuse the budgets that's a wise thing but romney's budget cuts in the area fema is in are almost double ryan's. so it's not like ryan's budget is more extreme here. romney's budget is much more aggressive but also somewhat vaguer. >> thank you as always to ezra klein, a person that deciphers the hieroglyphics of budgetary policy for us in a manner no one else can. coming up violent weather patterns, storm surges and rising tide was climate change
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factor in this year's super storm. we'll ask bill mcgiven, when he skips in to this program live just ahead. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin. [ designer ] enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer up to 9 months. [ male announcer ] because enbrel®, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis
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that accepts medicare patients. and you never need referrals. so call now to request a free decision guide and learn more. after all, when you're going the distance, it's nice to have the experience and commitment to go along with you. keep dreaming. keep doing. go long. . despite the fact that it has gone unmentioned by both candidates during this election cycle a few moments ago new york governor andrew cuomo boldly chose not to avoid the issue of climate change. >> for us to sit here today and say well this is once in a generation and it's not going to happen again, i think would be shortsighted and i think we need to anticipate more of these extreme weather-type situations in the future. >> we will discuss whether the weather will make it to the front burner before 2016 when environmentalists bill mcgiven
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president obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. and to heals the planets. my promise is to help you and your family. >> he ridiculed the president, ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming and economically beneficial ways. he said, oh, you're going to turn back the seas. and my part of america, we would like it if someone could have done that yesterday. >> that was former president bill clinton criticizing former governor romney for poking fun
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at current president obama's position on climate change. in reality, few office holders past, present or would-be have spent any political capital to battle global warming despite the fact that 2012 stands as a year when climate change became an undeniable reality. according to the oceanic and atmospheric administration the first nine months were the warmest on weather. the drought that ravaged the midwest destroying crops was the worst in half a century. wildfires that burned through 14,000 acres, an area of size of maryland were some of the most devastating on record and this summer arctic ice melted to its lowest levels since satellites began taking measurement a pattern that may have contributed to hurricane sandy. joining us now via skype is author and environmentalist bill mckiben. are you skyped in? are why there? >> low carbon footprint given
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the fact you are remote and not sitting with us on set. we're happy to have you on show. i want to talk about a number of things but first and foremost is sandy. this is going to hopefully engender a conversation about climate change although we don't really know how much of sandy and the super storm is attributable to changing temperatures. i would like your assessment on the situation given the fact that we are just days out from what was -- a storm of almost biblical proportions that hit the u.s. >> yeah. look, sandy was such a staggering event, aloe lowest bare ra metric pressure record ever seen, as one report put it yesterday the biggest storm to hit new york city since its founding in 1624. not often you get to write a sentence like that. such a staggering event and it happened in the heart of the world's media and financial capital. i think it probably will because
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people think more powerfully about climate change. it's too bad it takes this, you know, we had flooding six weeks ago in manila, dozens of people dead and the city under water, exactly a year ago, [ inaudible ] ever seen. the pictures look eerily familiar to us today. but it happens in new york and along the jersey shore, that probably -- that probably will open up all eyes. >> eric, you published some great stories in a little magazine known as "rolling stone" and on rollingstone.com. we don't know how much of sandy was caused by climate change, we know certain things are happening to the environment that perhaps could influence a super storm. the "new york times" has a nice breakdown. sea ice is melting. the arctic ice is melting which increases severe weather in the mid-atlantic. the oceans are warming and rising, which causes storm
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surges and coastal flooding. i would read a work by jennifer francis. -- that's accounting for perhaps the fact that sandy did this unprecedented thing and made a hard left inland. you know, you've talked about the melting. "rolling stone" published pieces about the melting ice and concern around that. is this enough to get some action on the issue? >> i wish i shared bill's optimism. i think our ability as a species to ignore what's staring us in the face because it doesn't satisfy our short-term need is pretty staggering. i think what bill has been really excellent in making clear when you get these events, the climate deniers on the right will say we don't know if that hurricane was the result of global warming and, of course, you can't pin any one weather event to climate change.
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what you can see are the patterns. and you can see that the conditions are such that creating vigorous storms, more frequent storms, more destructive storms and that is undeniable at this point. the question that bill is raising, does the fact that it hit us, people who get to go on tv and talk about it, make that kind of difference? i hope so. but i'm not really convinced it will. >> bill -- go ahead. i just wanted to say one thing before we get to you. you skype back here. the president himself did say he wanted to stop the rising of the seas. mitt romney made quite a bit of fun of him for saying that. the republican national convention. at the end of the day when the president talks about the environment he often couches his argument in energy and rarely says, you know, really -- really talks about environmentalism. how much of that has undercut the problem in finding a solution for the problem of climate change? >> it's undercut it a fair amount. let's be serious about exactly why we have such political
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trouble. because the richest and most powerful industry on earth the fossil fuel industry is spending huge sums of money to make sure it doesn't get taken seriously. chevron, a week ago, gave the largest single citizens united contribution to the gop super pacs. i wrote a piece yesterday for "the daily news" just saying it's not really fair that we call these things after innocent people like sandy. we should have called this hurricane chevron and the next one should be hurricane exxon and if we did that for a while, we begin to really to see who's at blame here. >> in a bit of poetic irony we have to leave it there. certainly a conversation that deserves more time. thank you to environmentalist bill mckiben. great to hear from you. >> thank you. >> and thank you to eric, rana, ben and hugo my storm package. all for now. i'll see you back here at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when
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joined by john heilemann, richard wolffe and times michael scherer. find us at facebook.com/now with alex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon, andrea. >> good afternoon. thanks so much. coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports," president obama is about to tour the hardest hit areas of new jersey with governor chris christie. we'll be checking in with democratic senator bob menendez from new jersey and congressman chris smith. new york democratic congressman steve israel on the effect there. jen psaki with the obama campaign. david gregory with "meet the press" and tom brokaw next on "andrea mitchell reports." our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly producing natural gas. it's not a dream. america's natural gas... putting us in control of our energy future, now.
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to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day. today, jason chose aleve. just two pills for all day pain relief. try aleve d for strong, all day long sinus and headache relief. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" eyewitness view. president obama expected to arrive any minute now in new jersey to survey the devastation for himself. after getting the latest briefing from top emergency management officials and national security team at fema today. the toll is staggering, at least 55 people killed by the storm,